Silky-Smooth Black Bean Soup

Black beans on a wooden spoon
Prep Time: 
40 minutes
Number of Servings: 
Recipe Source: 
From Keep it Vegan by Áine Carlin ($19.95, Kyle Books, 2015)


  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 red chili, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 heaping tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 12 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 (14 oz) cans black beans
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 1 heaping tsp vegetable stock granules
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar 
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • To serve:
  • 1 avocado, roughly chopped
  • Handful of chopped cilantro
  • Juice of 12 lime


  1. Heat oil in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add onion and red bell pepper, season with salt and pepper, and lightly sauté for a few minutes until vegetables begin to soften. Stir frequently.
  2. Add chili and garlic and lightly cook for a few minutes before adding paprika, cumin, and oregano. Sweat for several minutes, allowing flavors of spices to infuse.
  3. Drain and rinse black beans and add to pan. Thoroughly coat beans in all spices before adding thyme and vegetable stock granules. Then pour in just enough water to cover beans.
  4. Add vinegar and simmer for about 20 minutes.
  5. Transfer to a blender, add lime juice, and process until completely smooth. Return to pan and gently heat, adding a little more water if necessary. Season to taste.
  6. Ladle into bowls and top with avocado, cilantro, and squeeze of fresh lime before serving.


This black bean wonder is enough to smash any ideas of soup’s being somewhat dull and predictable. Yes, in essence, it’s just puréed beans with a little added zip (gotta love that lime!), but something happens when all those flavors come together to create this simple yet standout appetizer for your ultimate Mexican meal—nothing precedes enchiladas or tacos like a steaming bowl of black bean soup.